The 2013 session of the Tennessee General Assembly ended Friday with a contentious House-Senate clash that left dead Republican-sponsored bills on subjects ranging from charter schools to choosing judges.
The two chambers, both controlled for the first time by a Republican “supermajority,” did reach final-day agreement on imposing a 13-month month moratorium on cities annexing residential or agricultural land.
Gov. Bill Haslam said his two biggest disappointments in the day’s events were the failure of two measures dealing with charter schools, especially a “charter authorizer” bill (HB702) that would have allowed a state board to override local school boards when they turn down a charter school application.
The bill, a top priority of House Speaker Beth Harwell, cleared the House despite criticism that it wrongly let an appointed state board override decisions of local elected officials. But it stalled on the Senate floor until the final day, when it became entangled in what some characterized a “hostage” situation.
The Tennessean has a Sunday story on the ripple effects in closing of Taft Youth Center, including an escape by three girls from a converted mental health facility in Nashville.
The Commercial Appeal, meanwhile, looks at the long-running Brian A lawsuit against the Department of Children Services and recent setbacks.
Lamar Versus Free Press
A Chattanooga Free Press editorial, headlined ‘Lamar Sells Out,’ inspired Sen. Lamar Alexander to write a letter to the editor, calling for a retraction. Instead, the reply was a letter-rebuttal editorial further criticizing the senator. (Note: The Free Press recently got a new editorial page editor, post HERE.)
Legislative Fundraising Listed
Sen. Stacey Campfield’s blog has a bipartisan listing of 2nd quarter collections, spending and balances in state Senate races, HERE, and in key contested House races, HERE.
A Voter Guide for Knoxville Region
The News Sentinel has a voter guide that includes thumbnail profiles on candidates for the Legislature and Congress in central East Tennessee, plus all the candidates for U.S. Senate.
Davidson County Open Seat Review
The City Paper has a rundown on candidates competing in four open seats where Nashville-based Democratic legislators are retiring. HERE.
Herenton Gets Some Sympathy
In a Sunday column, Wendi Thomas says former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton’s latest problem does not deserve criticism, though he often does.
Voters Can Be Dishonest, Too
Not only are some voters apathetic; they also lie about it, says Robert Houk
This veteran politician told me he was surprised to learn just how many people say they vote when they don’t. He discovered this sad fact after losing a close election a few years back. Checking the names of who voted in that election told the story. He was disappointed to learn that people he had thought to be too responsible to shirk their duties as citizens had in fact stayed home on election day.
DesJarlais Not Debunked
Politifact Tennessee has rated as “mostly false” the Tennessee Democratic party’s contention that Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais has broken his promise not to support any “earmarks.”
Death of a Hospital
Scott County’s only hospital, built in 1955, has closed. It was that or a property tax hike. Story HERE.
Mudslinging in Roane County
Charges of “mudslinging” and voter harassment in the Roane County property assessor’s race, HERE.
Chattanooga Democrats Speak, Squabble
The Chattanoogan reports on Hamilton County Democratic legislative candidates presenting this views at a party function, HERE. Perhaps more interestingly, there’s also a rundown on some Hamilton County Democratic party infighting, HERE.
Indecent Exposure? No Foster Kids
Three foster children were removed from the home of Knox County Commissioner Jeff Owenby after he was charged with indecent exposure, allegedly because police found him having sex with another man. HERE.
Gateway Sex, Horse Abuse
Catching up with Gail Kerr: Recent columns include the observation that the “gateway sexual activity” bill made Tennessee a “laughingstock” and that abusing horses is a bad thing
Victor Ashe is Getting Old
Victor Ashe recently hosted an event for reunion of friends and some reminiscence on the 25th anniversary of his first run for Knoxville mayor. HERE.
Robert Houk is off on a self-described “rant” aimed at Rush Limbaugh (“Mighty Mouth”), an anti-Obama conspiracy theory and a Washington County commissioner.
Term Limits Not Really Necessary?
Frank Cagle, in a recent column, talks about term limits and whether they’re a good idea given recent Tennessee history in congressional elections.
Home Cooking Deregulated
ICYMI, the governor has signed into a law deregulating – well, sorta – the sale of products produced in home kitchens. News release HERE.
More Troopers, Busy This Weekend
The state has 44 new state troopers. A TV report HERE. And how are they spending their first weekend? News release HERE.
Monkey Business & Politics
Remember the “Monkey Trial,” which came long before the “Monkey Bill?” WPLN does.
Indian Protection, Disruption
About the same time TVA held a workshop with Native Americans on how best to protect artifacts and remains on TVA land, four Alabama men were fined in federal court for disturbing Native American remains on TVA property. HERE
‘Mama’ Tune Passes
Martha “Mama” Tune, a retired schoolteacher known for the Election Day meals she prepared for generations of Nashville politicians, died Wednesday. She was 91. HERE.